Facebook adds “subscribe” function to profiles

Social networking titan Facebook today unveiled a “subscribe” feature, which adds news feed updates to a user’s profile from other profiles without having to become “friends” on the site.

Any updates a Facebook user posts publicly go into news feeds of friends and followers. It’s a feature similar to Twitter’s followers and Circles on Google’s latest social network, Google+. Users can now “follow” updates from celebrities on Facebook, such as well-known writers or actors.

“It really lets you, along with the friend list, dial in your Facebook experience,” Facebook vice president of engineering Mike Schroepfer said. “You can see exactly what you want and who you want.”

Users can determine just how many updates they receive from other users they follow. If you choose “only important,” you’ll receive highlights like job moves or a move to a new city. Choosing “most updates” causes Facebook to send updates that would typically show up in a news feed.

Users can make the updates they see as granular as they want — down to removing updates from social games like Zynga’s Farmville.

“Pages are an awesome product for someone trying to maintain a brand presence,” Schroepfer said. ” [The new subscribe feature] allows me to share with my friends and with someone else who might be interested in what I say and do.”

It’s also worth noting that, along with the new follow button, users can now tweet from Facebook — something the social network has been against doing for profiles in the past.  As TechCrunch’s MG Siegler notes, users will soon be able to link their Twitter accounts with Facebook by visiting Facebook.com/twitter.

Facebook has more than 700 million users, compared to Twitter’s 300 million plus users.


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